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Photo: Woman with orange piano

5 ways I bust stress and feel happy

Ann the poet

We asked people living with MS to share their top five tips for wellbeing. Here’s how blogger Ann the Poet takes care of herself.

1. Singing

Sing loud and out of tune on purpose. This is usually funny and will make you laugh, so you get all the usual benefits of singing plus the benefits of laughing!

Woman smile

2. Colouring in

Whether it's a colouring book or some of your own doodles, this can be very relaxing.

photo of coloured pencils in a circle

3. Writing

Write down whatever comes into your head for four minutes, without stopping (this is known as ‘stream of consciousness’ writing).

Choose a topic to write about or find a sentence in a book or a magazine. Then set a timer and write about it until your alarm goes off.

Keep writing even if you get stuck: just write the same word or line over and over until something else comes to you.

Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or sentence structure – let your mind wander freely.

stream of words

4. Stress balls

Squeezing a stress ball is great stress buster. You can have hours of fun squeezing them out of shape and then making them round again. (And when I’m annoyed with someone I sometimes pretend I’m squeezing their head while doing a comedy evil laugh…)

a photo of some colourful Stress balls

5. Making lists

I find this is a great way to plan for the future, bring to mind happy memories and remember what is important to me. I have lots of books full of lists. This year I was 40 so I wrote a list of 40 things to do while I'm 40. I've done 34 of them so far.

pen in hand and open notebook

> Feeling low or stressed? Download our booklet MS and your emotions: understanding and dealing with your feelings

Ann is a TV addict and writer with relapsing remitting MS. She hosts a pub quiz and a spoken word night called Verbalise. She has a border collie called Barbara.

> Read more from Ann on her website.